“What’s a city boy like you doing in a small town like this?”
And to answer your question, right off the bat: no, I’ve never been asked that.
I mean, come on, I’m from Omaha, Nebraska! And while Omaha is Nebraska’s biggest metropolitan area, I’d be diluting myself if I actually believed I was some Big City Guy.
Still, it’s funny how time changes your perspective on things.
Two years ago, the thought of living in a small town was about as foreign and laughable to me as the idea of me camping.
Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen: I have never, in my life, gone camping.
That is, unless you consider staying at a Super 8 “camping,” (and I’m pretty sure which way you’re leaning toward on that particular issue.)
Yet, here I am, two years later, nearly 31, and I’ve lived in quite a few small little towns, Sikeston, Missouri being the smallest.
Although, when my wife and I were living in Jonesboro, we were completely taken aback, upon visiting the dentist.
You know something’s rotten in Denmark when there’s a question on one of the informational forms you’re made to fill out that asks you (serious as a heart attack, here, folks!) whether or not you’d “like to keep your original teeth for the remainder of your natural life.”
My response to my wife, after my laughter subsided, was, “What kind of weirdo would seriously consider checking the ‘NO’ box?!” Who actually wants–not plans, but wants!–to lose their teeth?!
Anyway, with all of that being said, my snooty outlook on small towns has drastically changed, over the course of the last two years.
I enjoy small town life. It’s quiet and most of the people I’ve met have never been anything less than warm and welcoming, which I certainly can’t say about some of the bigger Big Cities I’ve visited.
See, my wife and I eventually want to start a family and the reality is this: in every small town that I’ve inhabited, I’ve developed what I feel to be an extended family.
The truth is, I spent the better part of my twenties being this cynical, upper middle-class suburbanite yuppy. I never wanted to learn about worlds other than the little one I had always thought I lived in: My own.
I never expected to enjoy living or working in a city or town where everyone knows the other person’s name (and sometimes, but not always, their pet’s name).
Time, getting older, has a way of blurring those plans until they’re these shapeless forms that eventually get molded into something you never thought you needed: a different, larger view of the world.
Even if it ends up being in a place that barely shows up on the globe.